COVID-19 and dengue: two case reports
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The pandemic of this century has overwhelmed the healthcare systems of affected countries, and all resources have been diverted to coronavirus disease 2019. At the onset, coronavirus disease 2019 can present as any other acute febrile undifferentiated illness. In tropical regions, clinicians are increasingly challenged to differentiate these febrile illnesses without the use of diagnostics. With this pandemic, many of these tropical diseases are neglected and go underreported.

Dengue is holoendemic in the Maldives, and dengue viruses circulate throughout the year. Reports about coinfections with dengue virus and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 are scarce, and the outcome and the dynamics of the disease may be altered in the presence of coinfection. Authors have described the clinical manifestation and serial laboratory profile, and highlighted the atypical findings uncommon in dengue infection.

Case 1 was a 39-year old Asian male, presented on day 6 of dengue infection with warning signs. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 that was done as per hospital protocol was found to be positive. Case 2 was a 38-year old Asian male, was admitted on day 5 of illness with symptoms of acute respiratory infection with positive reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Evaluation of progressive leukopenia and thrombocytopenia showed positive dengue serology.

Clinicians must be conscientious when working on the differential diagnosis of possible tropical diseases in cases of coronavirus disease 2019, specifically, when patients develop hemoconcentration, thrombocytopenia, and transaminitis with elevated expression of aspartate higher than alanine transaminase, which is frequently observed in dengue infection. Caution must be taken during the administration of intravenous fluids when treating patients with COVID-19 and dengue coinfection, as coronavirus disease 2019 patients are more prone to develop pulmonary edema.

Timely diagnosis and appropriate management are essential to avoid the devastating complications of severe forms of dengue infection. It is important to repeat and reconfirm the dengue serology in coronavirus disease 2019 patients to avoid false positivity. Diligence and care must be taken not to neglect other endemic tropical diseases in the region during the present pandemic.